PHOTO | PPS President Mwai Kibaki in talks with the UK Prime Minister, Mr. David Cameron during the London Conference on Somalia at Lancaster House.
By LUCAS BARASA [email protected] and KEVIN KELLY Nation Correspondent in New York
Posted Thursday, February 23 2012 at 22:30
Country’s ambassador says resolution on Somalia did not include provisions to equip four KDF navy ships
Kenya expressed its “disappointment” over a decision by donors not to fund its navy, a move that would help it patrol the Somalia coastline.
This emerged as the Kenya’s Defence Forces revealed that it might be up to six months before its soldiers are fully integrated into the African Union Forces in Somalia (Amisom) despite the United Nations endorsement on Wednesday.
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) approved a plan to integrate some 4,000 Kenyan troops into Amisom. This “rehatting” initiative would save Kenya billions of shillings.
The UN appropriated $304 million to support Amisom in the fiscal year ending this June. However, under the plan endorsed on Wednesday, UN support for Amisom could increase to more than $500 million a year.
But speaking in London, Kenya’s ambassador to the UN Macharia Kamau said the resolution expanding Amisom’s strength does not provide the $10 million in funding for all the equipment Kenya had hoped to receive for four of its Navy vessels operating off the Somalia coast.
Ambassador Kamau told the Nation that Kenya is “disappointed” by that outcome.
“Quarantining the coastline of Somalia is critical to the success of the mission,” he said, adding that the UN resolution, as adopted, will not permit fully such efforts. But he said they were “satisfied” with the decision.
Ms Susan Rice, the US ambassador to the UN, expressed “regret” that the decision did not include full support for Amisom’s maritime capabilities. But British UN Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant told reporters that the resolution will cover payment for the crew of the four Kenyan ships as well as the fuel for operating them.
“It is only the ancillary costs, in terms of wear and tear of the boats, that will not be included,” Ambassador Grant said.
In Kenya, Amisom and KDF however welcomed the “rehatting” but said it will take up to six months before the two forces are integrated. KDF spokesman colonel Cyrus Oguna said Kenya will draw an agreement with Amisom on how its soldiers will operate.
President Mwai Kibaki is leading the Kenyan delegation to talks on Somalia in the UK.